Questionable Motives

August 30, 2011

What were the five stupidest statements made at Gov. Perry’s Texas prayer rally?

Filed under: Politics,Religion,Texas — tildeb @ 9:39 am

#5 “Lord, I pray that we might see a reinstating of the display of the Ten Commandments in our classrooms. I pray Lord that we will again see freedom to pray in our classrooms.” This gem was from Vonette Bright, a co-founder of CRU (formerly Campus Crusade for Christ).

#4 “Tens, even hundreds, of thousands of Jewish people in the last decades have come to their Messiah. And so Lord, we pray for the revival around the world, and for Israel to come to their own Messiah.” From Pastor Don Finto of the Caleb Company.

#3 “In the humanistic culture, people are talking about love without reference to Jesus Christ.” Can’t be good without god, can we? This from Mike Bickle, director of the International House of Prayer Missions Base of Kansas City.

#2 “There’s a crisis of truth in the pulpits today in our land. That, in the name of tolerance, even in the name of love, we are redefining love that is not on God’s terms. Jesus is god. There is no other god than Jesus. Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. All the world religions, they can say what they say. There is no other god besides Jesus. There is no other standard of truth. Jesus alone is the standard of truth. He defines morality. He defines marriage. He defines life. He defines righteousness. And in our allegiance to him, we say what he says. It’s time to come out in the open. It’s time to go public. Regardless what it costs us, we love you Jesus! The only god!” Yup, what’s a christian rally without insisting that Jesus was anti-choice and anti-gay? That’s Mike Bickle again. How handy is it, really, that jesus agrees with whatever Mike Bickle says?

#1 But by far the stupidest statement was by the governor himself, Rick Perry, who tells us why god is against such political prayer rallies. But Perry so immersed in his own stupidity that he doesn’t see the irony: “His agenda is not a political agenda. His agenda is a salvation agenda … He is a wise, wise god, and he is wise enough to not be affiliated with any political party. Or for that matter, He is wise enough to not be affiliated with any man-made institutions.”

(h/t Secular News Daily)

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August 25, 2011

Why is ignorance of evolution a litmus test for politicians?

Filed under: creationism,Dawkins,Evolution,IDiocy,Intelligent Design,stupidity — tildeb @ 9:57 pm

I know this is already done to death around the internet but it is so well expressed and so succinctly that I must re-post it here because it reflects my own opinion and disgust at voters who empower such politicians:

A politician’s attitude to evolution is perhaps not directly important in itself. It can have unfortunate consequences on education and science policy but, compared to Perry’s and the Tea Party’s pronouncements on other topics such as economics, taxation, history and sexual politics, their ignorance of evolutionary science might be overlooked. Except that a politician’s attitude to evolution, however peripheral it might seem, is a surprisingly apposite litmus test of more general inadequacy. This is because unlike, say, string theory where scientific opinion is genuinely divided, there is about the fact of evolution no doubt at all. Evolution is a fact, as securely established as any in science, and he who denies it betrays woeful ignorance and lack of education, which likely extends to other fields as well. Evolution is not some recondite backwater of science, ignorance of which would be pardonable. It is the stunningly simple but elegant explanation of our very existence and the existence of every living creature on the planet. Thanks to Darwin, we now understand why we are here and why we are the way we are. You cannot be ignorant of evolution and be a cultivated and adequate citizen of today.

Just so.

The author, Richard Dawkins, has expressed it bluntly in this article: there is no excuse except pandering to the stupid for such willful ignorance to be held by anyone with a reasonable grasp of reality and the ability to learn. There is certainly no reason except stupidity to reward such idiots in politics. Those who do reward it with their vote need to be opposed in very blunt terms: they are exercising idiocy – or, in Discovery Institute wedge issue terminology about Intelligent Design, IDiocy. Voting for a creationist who denies the fact of evolution is an idiotic act that attempts to empower ignorance of those who hold a belief contrary to what is true in reality into positions of authority over all us in the public domain. Stupid is as stupid does. That’s what voting for a anti-evolutionist means: an exercise in stupidity.

(h/t pharyngula)

August 24, 2011

Why must we choose?

Filed under: Canada,Islam,Law — tildeb @ 12:47 pm

From Wire Service Canada:

Author Paris Dipersico has been discharged from Oakville Trafalgar Memorial Hospital after he was dragged into a forest and beaten unconscious by two male assailants Wednesday morning. Police said the victim’s hands were bound and Det. Sgt. Anthony Odoardi said they are confident the attack was targeted due to the controversial nature of his book Wake Up Call.

Co-author Gabrielle Dipersico’s home was broken into just a day after the assault and they have received death threats by Muslim extremists for insulting Islam. The Police are currently conducting an investigation along with a safety plan for the authors.

Wake Up Call has angered several religious groups, family members and it was rejected by over a dozen publishers for being “extremely controversial” and “inflammatory.”

I thought it worth noting the author’s description of the book’s main character: “Although being brought up in a Muslim household, yet he questions the very existence of God and says: “Islam is a religion of ‘peace’ and Muslims will kill you to prove it.”

But so what? Whether the author’s views are politically correct or insane, what matters is that these threats are carried over into real world violence. And the motivation is islamic religious piety trying to police the rights and freedoms of others through intimidation and violence. This reveals why, at their core, islam and enlightenment values are in direct conflict. People need to choose which side they are on.

August 21, 2011

What’s the difference between religious belief and quackery?

Umm… confusion?

First, a bit of background.

I was in discussions with a fellow who used this article as evidence that religious belief in god is driven by biology because it’s true, yet I had a difficult time explaining why the human tendency to attribute agency to supernatural causation was not evidence for god. (It’s a human attribute to get mad, say, at a series of red lights when one is trying to drive somewhere quickly, as if these lights were possessed by a malevolent spirit aimed at thwarting your desires. That experience doesn’t offer us evidence for a malignant spirit, however; it reveals we are all susceptible to giving in to these silly notions.). But the study he was using was from Oxford university, you see, so it had the pedigree of academic authenticity. Therefore, I had to be wrong. It didn’t seem to matter to the fellow that the Project – called the Cognition, Religion and Theology Project – was run by theologians funded by Templeton, nor that it’s funding depended on attributing this tendency to assign agency to be equivalent of ‘believing in god’. It simply didn’t matter that the project’s reason to be was that its “seeks to support scientific projects that promise to yield new evidence regarding how the structures of human minds inform and constrain religious expression including ideas about gods and spirits, the afterlife, spirit possession, prayer, ritual, religious expertise, and connections between religious thought and morality and pro-social behavior.”

Well, it matters a great deal to me because there is a flip side to respecting both supernatural claims and directives that transpose one’s beliefs into actions and, more  specifically, how we are to behave towards others. That flip side runs the gamut from exercising quaint beliefs – some of which motivate the killing of children (see here and here) to outright medical quackery and no human society – no matter how developed in economy or academia – is somehow immune… except and only by those who exercise honest scepticism through critical reasoning, who respect reality – and not our beliefs about it – as the final arbiter of what is true. And that approach can be learned, which I think is a very worthwhile endeavor to undertake. But how to convince more people to exercise it when we are bombarded by familiar and comforting beliefs in supernatural agencies as if they were true in reality?

We are surrounded here in the west by self-spawning quackery to the extent that taxpayers subsidize its teachings and accept its many guises as legitimate treatments. But how many people understand the link between supernaturalism in religion to supernaturalism is medical treatments? To me it seems self-evident that what we’re talking about is not a difference in kind of beliefs in the supernatural but in degree of belief in the supernatural. In other words, faith-based belief comes in many expressions but the root – belief in the supernatural – remains the same. This confuses whether reality or our beliefs about it arbitrates what’s true.

For example, Orac, while criticizing a new study in journal Cancer, tells us the difference between reiki and the ‘energy chelation’ therapy used in the study under ‘peer review’ is that “reiki is faith healing in which the person being healed is usually not touched but the practitioner believes that he’s channeling healing energy into the patient from a “universal source.”

Universal source? Doesn’t that sound a lot like… oh, I don’t know… maybe another way to say  god? Coincidence?

And the founder of energy chelation?  “Founder and director of the Healing Light Center Church, Reverend Bruyere has committed her life to the teaching of these sacred and ancient disciplines, thereby providing her students with practical tools for living the spiritual life, while introducing them to the venerable traditions from which those tools are derived.

That she’s a reverend must also be a coincidence, I guess.

So what are those sacred and ancient disciplines, these venerable traditions? Rev. Bruyere explains:

Human Energy Chelation Therapy (HECT), a process of transmitting or channelling energy, is based on the electromagnetic nature of the human body. The body’s electromagnetic or auric field is generated by the spinning of the chakras. As it spins, each chakra produces its own electromagnetic field. This field then combines with fields generated by other chakras in the body to produce the auric field. An individual’s auric field is manifested via a combination of energies from three chakras. Generally these are the first, third and fifth chakras, which empower the person’s physical, intellectual, and etheric bodies. It is a combination of these three chakras that produces the primary auric field (the inner shell of the aura), which can be physically felt by the therapist’s hand as it is passed over the client’s body in the process of scanning.

Of course. That we have no evidence of the human body as an ‘auric field’ generator matters little when we are talking about ancient and venerable practices, which in turn are based on… you guessed it… faith-based beliefs. The dictionary tells me that ‘auric’ actually means “of, or containing, gold in the trivalent state,” so I suspect what the reverend actually meant was ‘auratic’ – pertaining to the aura. But what’s in a term when the whole thing is pseudo-scientific mumbo jumbo?

Well, a lot as it turns out.

Consider the pejorative sense of the word ‘quackery’ to describe medical practices that failed to establish efficacy. From this was born the terms complementary and alternative ‘medicine’ when people could earn degrees to become doctors of ‘naturopathy’, which is now morphing into “integrative medicine” and appearing, like the Oxford Project, on university campuses (see here for the latest) where they suck legitimacy not from the efficacy of their work results, which are non-existent, but parasitically from the university’s name alone . The terminology used in quackery, as ethereal and nebulous in meaning to those found in religious belief, is important to keep the founding faith-based beliefs of these ‘venerable practices’ hidden from those who purchase them today expecting efficacy (I can’t find a religious believer in christianity, for example, who accepts without qualification that prayer is not efficacious in spite of very strong evidence that it is not).

None of these terms are, as David Gorski writes in his excellent critical article,

serious, sober names for a serious, sober, science-based specialty. They are about the branding of quackery. They have always been about the branding of quackery. They are about double standards whereby treatments that can’t pass scientific muster are admitted to the “club” of science-based medicine under lowered standards.

Can this be true? Why, even insurance companies fund treatments like chiropracty presumably because they do work. Don’t they?

Well, you may be surprised at the words of David Palmer, the founder of what we now call chiropractics… a stellar example of what quackery in the medical world looks like today. In his book, The Chiropractor (published posthumously, 1914), Palmer described how he came to understand that 95% of all diseases came from subluxated vertabra  from a channeled spirit from ‘the other world’ (source):

“The knowledge and philosophy given me by Dr. Jim Atkinson, an intelligent spiritual being, together with explanations of phenomena, principles resolved from causes, effects, powers, laws and utility, appealed to my reason. The method by which I obtained an explanation of certain physical phenomena, from an intelligence in the spiritual world, is known in biblical language as inspiration. In a great measure The Chiropractor’s Adjuster was written under such spiritual promptings.” (p. 5)”

He regarded chiropractic as partly religious in nature. In a letter of May 4, 1911 he said:

“… we must have a religious head, one who is the founder, as did Christ, Mohamed, Jo. Smith, Mrs. Eddy, Martin Luther and other who have founded religions. I am the fountain head. I am the founder of chiropractic in its science, in its art, in its philosophy and in its religious phase.”

In his 1914 book, the first chapter expanded on his religious views of chiropractic: “The Moral and Religious Duty of a Chiropractor”.In it he dealt with religious liberty and stated:

“… nor interfere with the religious duty of chiropractors, a privilege already conferred upon them. It now becomes us as chiropractors to assert our religious rights.” (p. 1)

“The practice of chiropractic involves a moral obligation and a religious duty.”

Yes, the same engine that drives faith-based belief pops up in just about every avenue of human activity where we face uncertainties and lack of knowledge: calls from those who profit from the status quo appeal to us to take superstitious claims seriously because they are venerated, because they are ancient, because they are not familiar… not because they are true.

Perhaps that has something to do with why Leo Igwe tells us that:

In some cases Africans associate certain traits or behavior like stubbornness, talking in one’s dreams, sleep walking, aging, albinism, soliloquy, hallucination and uttering meaningless syllables even when it is as a result of some psychiatric problem or self deceit, with magical powers. The general belief is that the veracity or validity of witchcraft claims is beyond the scope of ‘western’ science but within the ambit of ‘African science’. This misconception is common among the so called African elite and is at the root of the problems associated with belief in witchcraft in the region.

Western science versus African science? Isn’t science simply science? So why does this false dichotomy sound so familiar? Oh, yes, that’s right: it’s common to hear people talk about ‘Eastern medicine’ versus ‘Western medicine’ conveniently forgetting that such a dichotomy is just as false. That’s why we need to substitute terms that only seem to be meaningful in reality, to cover up the fact that what the terms represent are not true in reality but exist only in the faith-based beliefs people hold in these superstitious claims… where ignorance and fear are plentiful.

Gorski writes in the same article,

There is no such thing as “alternative” medicine. There is medicine that has been proven safe and effective through science; there is medicine that has not; and there as medicine that has been proven unsafe and/or ineffective through science. Whatever you call it, “alternative,” “CAM,” or “integrative” medicine, when medicine, whatever its source, is demonstrated to be safe and effective through science, it ceases to be “alternative” or “complementary.” It becomes simply “medicine” and is automatically integrated into the current armamentarium of medicine, no special name needed, no special consideration needed to provide a lower standard of evidence.”

The common root of both medical quackery and religious belief is exactly the same: faith-based belief in the supernatural. And, in spite of repeated assertions by all stripes of apologists for faith-based beliefs with the old mantra of ‘What’s the harm?’,  both these expressions really do kill people unnecessarily. And in great quantities. In this sense of supporting the unsupportable, then, there is no difference between religious belief and quackery.

August 17, 2011

What’s in a good editorial?

Filed under: accommodation,faith-based beliefs,reality,Religion,Science — tildeb @ 7:14 pm

Nothing but good reasoning, as far as I can tell, based on respecting what is true in reality.

Compared to the last post here on QM, this one I’m posting (taken from an editorial of the St. Louis JewishLight) may give you hope that you are not one of the few who can actually think without having to draw upon some supernatural agencies to make sense of the natural universe.

Now sit back and enjoy the parts I have extracted or head over and read the whole thing yourself. You’ll be glad you did:

There are millions of Americans who want to kill science, including some who have announced they are running for President of our dear nation.  And this is not in any way a good thing.

These Americans of course don’t see it that way.  They’ll gladly drive to work, use their smartphones and watch their TVs (physics), take their medicine and cure their ills (chemistry and biology), tend to their lawns and landscaping (botany).  They are fully able and willing to accept those benefits of science that endlessly improve their own lives.

But when the identical method of scientific discovery is applied to subjects that they deem to conflict with their religious beliefs – creationism, age of the earth, climate change (the latter because in their view, God could not possibly have made an earth susceptible to destruction by humans, or alternately, that God put the world here for humans to exploit it to our advantage) – they’ll put a bullet to the head of science as fast as you can say “carbon credits.”

This attempt at assassination cannot fairly be labeled as an assault by atheists against religion.

Refreshing, eh?

How about this paragraph:

When creationists say they don’t “believe in” evolution, they are spewing an oxymoron and polluting the rhetorical environment. Evolution isn’t something you believe or not believe – it is a way to describe well-researched phenomena in the most plausible way possible. Those who oppose the teaching of evolutionary science, or insist on teaching a belief system (i.e., creationism), alongside science, see it differently, and wrongly.

I’m in love.

And this:

But therein lies the rub: There is absolutely nothing different about the basic research methodology in earth and climate science than applies to other scientific fields and endeavors. If you destroy science in one area, you are destroying it in all.

You mean relying on the method of science in this bit of life but not that bit is actually hypocritical? Gee… whodathunk?

From a comment received yesterday, I was asked, “But why do they (atheists) use so much energy in being anti-God (tildeb: that’s what criticizing woo earns you as a label… I have no good reason to think such a critter is real yet that makes me anti-what-isn’t-real. If you figure it out, let me know)? Seems like a waste of time. If I don’t believe in something (like the Easter Bunny) I just move on. If someone else does, it is their business. Atheists aren’t any more arrogant than “Saved Christians.” They’re all a crushing bore.”

Fortunately, my answer seems to find an echo – okay, an echo that is actually a much better enunciated and coherent answer, to be honest – in St. Louis, home of my beloved Rams:

Ignore this controversy at your personal and national peril.  If you are comfortable with America becoming a nation of Luddites, then by all means, embrace the attacks on evolutionary and climate science (tildeb: and I would include any faith-based belief system that is contrary to respecting what is true).  But in our case, we think being smart about science is hip, cool and quite frankly, essential to America’s continued leadership role in the world.

Exactly right.

(h/t SC)

What does gullibility look like in print?

Check this out:

3000 Years of Science in a 21st Century Delivery System

CieAura Transparent Holographic Chips™ use a proprietary combination of homeopathic formulas consisting of intrinsic energies that affect positive health responses. CieAura Chips have the look of simple decals on the body or clothing and are totally non-invasive, without any chemical component. When placed along sensitive acupuncture meridian points, results such as increased energy, improved stamina, deeper, more restful nights, and other assorted reactions occur, depending on the program formula of the Holographic Chip and the related placement.

You might think these magical chips actually do something, mightn’t you? Thank goodness the disclaimer tells us it’s all bunk:

CieAura products are sold for learning, self-improvement and simple relaxation. No statement contained in this writing, and no information provided by any CieAura employee or retailer, should be construed as a claim or representation that these products are intended for use in the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment or prevention of disease or any other medical condition. The information contained in this writing is deemed to be based on reliable and authoritative report. However, certain persons considered experts may disagree with one or more of the statements contained here. CieAura assumes no liability or risk involved in the use of the products described here. We make no warranty, expressed or implied, other than that the material conforms to applicable standard specifications.

Yet people actually buy these kinds of products because they are gullible. And they are gullible because they allow their faith-based belief in woo to guide them. The problem, however, is that belief in woo is equivalent in all ways to delusion. When we are willing to trust our delusions as if they were true, we are bound for disappointment. In the meantime, far too many of us are simply gullible… to the great profit of integrated medicine and religious industrial woo-meisters who peddle its virtues.

(h/t neurologica)

 

August 16, 2011

What do you mean our eyes don’t see?

This very short video shows why our brains, and not our eyes, see.

Our brains are also very good at tricking us. When we experience something, we try to make sense of it. What fills in the details is our brain – based on what aligns with our expectations and prior beliefs. These beliefs may or may not be based on what’s true in reality. That’s why it is so very important that we understand and appreciate that our attributions (to what we assign cause for the effect we have just experienced) may be wrong. Once we understand and accept that our attributions can be and often are wrong, we realize the importance of independent verification. This is where the method of science plays such an important role in determining reality and why we can’t arbitrarily suspend laws of nature to suit a particular faith-based belief without understanding at some level that we’re cheating. Our attributions for experiences we may not understand are not an authority for our faith-based beliefs if we are not willing to first submit them to independent verification and respect the results. When we protect our attributions from being subject to the arbiter of reality, we are allowing closing our minds to what is true (if we think it will go against what we believe to be true) and substituting belief in its place. Whatever conclusions we draw from this dishonest method to protect our beliefs has to be an untrustworthy guide to what is true in reality.

So when someone proposes some faith-based belief to be true on the merit that the person experiences something but is unwilling to submit those same beliefs to the arbitration of reality, they are not seeking what is true at all. They are really asking you to grant to them a special exemption of what is true in reality on behalf of their belief. If you agree to respect their beliefs, you are complicit in the cover-up of reality in the name of faith. This makes you an accomplice in religion’s role to respecting what’s believed to be true over and above what’s true in fact.

This is why religion and science can never be friends. The contrasting methods of inquiry cannot be complimentary ways of knowing. Because respect for what’s true in reality is subverted by the process of faith in beliefs the two must remain in conflict and contrary to their very core.

August 13, 2011

Why do we need more gnu atheism?

Sorry for the absence: the reality that is life sometimes intrudes and I find I must sometimes yield. Apologies to all.

I came across this perceptive piece of thinking over at Eric MacDonald’s site, authored by Egbert (7th comment)… a voice of commentary I usually find rich in value (in other words, he usually gets me thinking about something in a clear and coherent way previously unconsidered, which a good thing). In describing why gnu atheism is different from atheism long practiced, and why that difference is so important to maintain, he writes about the commonly hostile responses from so many atheist accommodationists (too often self-portrayed as taking on the burden of ‘parenting’ of us naughty and willful children who misbehave in public) :

I think in one way, we’ve been aiding the rationalization and legitimacy and complacency of religion by dealing with religion philosophically and rationally, which goes back right through our modern history. But the New Atheism has certainly challenged this legitimacy in a more traumatic way, by taking away this respect, and deconstructing religious morality. The backlash from the these uppity New Atheists is for the bad parent to tell us all to stop being so shrill and strident, and go back to the rational and historical discussions. We must be careful not be defined by this draconian parent, we are not bad rioting children, we are not the stereotype given to us by the religious. But we must also not obey, and go back to the complacent respectful ways of old atheism.

I think this is worth serious consideration for all those who attempt to keep to the middle road of lip service to respecting the religious beliefs of others in the public domain – especially agnostics sitting so uncomfortably on the unstable points of the wobbly faith fence called don’t choose, don’t decide, don’t judge, don’t think, (just continue nodding while shrugging and repeating the mantra “It’s possible…” no matter how ludicrous the faith-based assertion may be while pretending the absence of evidence in reality holds no meaningful sway to such a tolerant and open mind as yours… so open in fact that your brains have fallen out unnoticed in the clammering accolades from the faitheists).

I think we need to continue to challenge faith-based beliefs in the public domain and expose them for the frauds of reality they are. I think we have to keep hammering home the importance of respecting reality itself – and not the faith-based beliefs of others – to be the arbiter of what’s true in fact. We need to keep asking “How do you know that to be true?” and make faith-based believers expose their own paucity of good reasons, absence of good evidence, lack of clear thinking, and unsupportable conclusions in the arena of reality we share rather than allow the faithiest defense to shift back into the comfy metaphysical realms from which they find protection against the very reality which is supposedly affected by all sorts of mysterious unnatural forces and agencies. The more we insist on speaking from a common position of a shared reality, the less likely it will become for public figures to espouse faith-based beliefs as a character reference rather than an perverted and cowardly admission of  belief in oogity boogity.

August 5, 2011

Why must god’s law be secondary to secular law?

Filed under: honour killing,Religion,Secularism — tildeb @ 3:34 pm

Until we get this order right in the minds of believers, this is the inevitable cost to respecting the lunacy of god’s law:

Shaher Bano Shahdady was just 21, a young mother who wanted to live her Canadian life as a free Canadian woman. And for that, she was strangled to death in front of her toddler.

Between 1 and 2 a.m. on July 22, neighbours in the building at 3131 Eglinton Ave. E. (Toronto, Ontario) heard the shrill screaming of a child that went on for 15 minutes. And then silence. More than 15 hours later, Shahdady’s distraught father discovered his 2-year-old grandson alone in the apartment with his daughter’s dead body. She had been strangled on her bed.

Her estranged husband Abdul Malik Rustam, 27, turned himself in to police the next morning. He’s been charged with first-degree murder.

“Absolutely, it was an honour killing,” contends Fatah. “This is the fundamental issue here that no one wants to address. Nobody wants to tell Muslim men that women are not their possessions. It’s about women’s sexuality and men who say they own the franchise to it.”

Read the entire article here and weep at the stupidity and waste of yet another young woman’s life on the despicable alter of religious honour and think of her orphaned son who pays the price.

 

August 4, 2011

How can this be?

Filed under: LGBT,Morality,Religion — tildeb @ 12:16 pm

During the shooting rampage in Norway:

Hege Dalen and her spouse, Toril Hansen were near Utöyan having dinner on the opposite shore across from the ill-fated campsite, when they began to hear gunfire and screaming on the island. “We were eating. Then shooting and then the awful screaming. We saw how the young people ran in panic into the lake,” says Dale to HS in an interview. The couple immediately took action and pushed the boat into Lake Tyrifjorden. Dalen and Hansen drove the boat to the island, picked up from the water victims in shock, the young and wounded, and transported them to the opposite shore to the mainland. Between runs they saw that the bullets had hit the right side of the boat. Since there were so many and not all fit at once aboard, they returned to the island four times. They were able to rescue 40 young people from the clutches of the killer. “We did not sleep last night at all. Today, we have been together and talked about the events,” Dalen said. (Source)

So let’s get the christian theology straight here: although Anders Breivik, the Norway killer,  murdered many people, many devout christians will insist that he will go to heaven because he’s a christian (a rather bad one, to be sure, but not guilty of murder for reasons of political necessity, he says). But these two brave women – listening to their moral conscience and acting on it rather than their fear – are doomed in the hereafter because they are practicing lesbians (and married).

Just… wow.

And religious folk wonder why more and more people – those capable of critical thought who also respect what’s true in reality – are turning their backs on the absurd religious truth claims about the divine source of our morality.

Is it really any mystery at all if we use reality as our arbiter?

 

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